I played a game of Talisman today.
It was a two-player game with the other player not being familiar with Talisman before. That's why we played a "standard" game, if you can speak about standard talisman anymore with all these expansions around...
Anyway, both extra boards were used, and alternative ending was chosen to be the Sacred Pool in the hope it would speed up the game a little.
The Dragon expansion was left largely unused, and the Reaper was left home too, which would probably have been done anyway, since I've found it's rather boring and time consuming addition to two player Talisman games and never really affects anything... I guess it'd be best with about four players, though surely it sees a lot more use in three player games too.
But let's get started with this.
Characters drawn were the Magus and Cleric. Somewhat classic Good/Evil match up. I for one was overexcited, as neither character has ever been played since the starting of this blog.
Game started rather steadily with both characters gaining power slowly. Cleric completed first warlock quest and gained Prolific Pockets reward. Soon after Magus completed his first and second quest too and got a warhorse as a reward the Vengeance Hex (or something like that) turning poor Cleric into a toad.
Now, Cleric had only treasure box around and four loyal followers. Magus hadn't had all that many followers by then, and Magus' power depends on them somewhat.
This lead into a curious situation. As the Cleric-frog dropped everything she held to ground and couldn't pick anything up, yet she pulled a coin every turn from her prolific pockets, for a little while there was a frog jumping around that dropped a gold coin wherever it went.
As an insult & injury to insult & injury the Magus went and stole Clerics treasure box and half of the followers. Only half of the followers, because Magus didn't have any gold, and two of the followers (Mendicant / Mercenary) wanted a payment.
Magus started trampling around the playing board with his new and shiny warhorse, and pretty soon was contesting for the crown of command.
Cleric didn't do actually that bad and recovered quite soon from being a toad. However she constantly struggled with carry limit - and getting a lodestone in the Highlands didn't actually help with that. However, she had a pretty handy combination of cards with always having at least 1 coin and having mercenary by her side.
Yet Cleric had interesting problem - she had completed around 6 warlock quests, but didn't have even a single one of them used up. Sacred Pool alternative ending required four or more discarded quest reward cards.
By this time the Magus had raised his Craft value to around 10 and had discarded four quest rewards. It all started to look very grim for Cleric, but Highlands had a Gong of War there, which could be used to summon any player from any region to fight.
Against all odds Cleric managed to cast Displacement spell and put Gong of War within her reach in the Highlands and just as Magus entered Valley of Fire, she succeeded in rolling the required dice number to encounter Gong of War, summoning Magus into Highlands.
And Cleric paid back all the toadifying. Despite she being -3 in combat against Magus, she still beat the bad guy and stole his Orb of Knowledge, and because he lost a fight he lost the Warhorse and Fiend Slayer followers.
Well, truly that was rather unexpected, and a bit climatic, but it really didn't help on finishing the game soon enough. It's curious how often Talisman does this - just as game is about to finish, something totally unexpected happens and the game just goes on... Bad thing when people are in somewhat of a hurry.
Anyway, this bought precious turns for Cleric to try to burn up all her quest rewards. Talisman she already had. Magus started trekking through Highlands to get a teleport to any outer or middle region space.
Cleric still didn't have good enough strenght or craft to really attempt going through portal of power and mines or crypts. She thought it best to try go racing through Dungeon side board to build up a little strenght and then do some movement shenanigans to get instantly to Valley of Fire.
That, however, took a few turns to accomplish and Magus beat up the Eagle King like he was nothing. There were two treasures left in Eagle King's treasury and Magus drew Arnkell, the one that's usually worst of all the treasures, especially for a character who's power builds up with each follower with him.
However, Magus didn't really need the followers if he could just reach the Crown of Command first, since Sacred Pool alternative end gives the victory to first player on crown.
So Eagle King dropped Magus to Portal of Power, from which Magus entered into inner region with ease. Cleric was racing through Dungeon with riding horses and she had a quest reward that could teleport her into any space in any region except the inner circle.
Magus used Arnkell, left all his followers to Plain of Peril and entered Valley of Fire.
Cleric got to treasure chamber and beat up Lord of Darkness, getting Cloak of Feathers. She was teleported into chasm and lost her mule, riding horses and the mendicant there. She lost a life even herself, which was actually good, since she could then lose a life from one of her quest rewards, which was then discarded. Then she discarded her fourth quest reward to teleport her into Portal of Power.
However, next turn Magus could just walk a space forward and claim the crown.
Just two turns more for Cleric would've given different outcome for the whole game. So in the end, it became a very close race, though alternative ending was pretty harsh when it came in determining the winner.
But people of the world were made into mindless thralls, serving every whim of the dark Magus instead of a world of peace and justice.